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Take Online Classes

Updated on December 8, 2011

Long gone are the days when you had to take a course in the classroom. Now your classroom can be your computer screen. These days almost everyone is taking or has taken an online class either for college credit or merely for self-enhancement.

Online education has advanced rapidly since it first became available on the world wide web. Some educational institutes offer online courses in conjunction with taking courses in the classroom. However, just as many offer online courses exclusively online.

The development of computers and the internet have made distance learning easier and faster and have given rise to the "Virtual University" where the entire program of study is conducted online.

There are various terms that mean the same thing about online education:

  • Distance learning
  • E-learning
  • Virtual learning
  • Online courses
  • Courses online
  • Online classes
  • Classes online

It was reported that over 12 million students have taken classes online and that number is likely to increase. Within the next 10-20 years, almost everyone will be taking online courses. More stay at home moms will take online courses because they will be able to take care of the home and get their degree at their own pace. Almost everyone is computer literate and spend hours on the computer anyway. So why not log onto a site and take a course? There are lots of free courses online even if one is not seeking a degree. There are courses that teach flower arrangements, how to sew, how to make jewelry, etc. The sky's the limit when it comes to the categories of courses one can take at no cost.

Virtual Education

Virtual education describes online education where the teacher and the students use the internet to communicate.

Virtual education simply refers to instruction in a learning environment where the teacher and students are separated by time or space, or both. The teacher is responsible for providing course content through various tools that will enable tthe students to learn as if they were in the classroom. All the courses are taught on the internet without any face-to-face contact. In other words, neither the teacher nor the students have to enter into a classroom at all.

The methods the teacher uses may include multimedia resources, the internet, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, e-mails, and voice mail, among other things. The students communicate to the teacher through the same methods.

Virtual education is a program where courses are online and not in the classroom. All course material is provided electronically and can be viewed with a browser.

A wide spectrum of instruction methods is available. Here are just a few:

  • Video-based courses are lcourses where the students watch a video of the teaching speaking. Powerpoint presentations might be used for illustrations. This teaching doesn't have to be done in real time but can be done at the students'  convenience.
  • Audio-based courses are courses where only the sound track of the lecturer is provided. Like the video-based courses, the student may take the course at a time that is convenient for him as long as he finishes the course by the deadline set forth by the teacher. (I used www.blogtalkradio.com)
  • Teleconferencing courses are where teacher and students call a designated number. There is no face-to-face contact, but the teacher can teach and call on different individuals to answer certain questions. (I use www.freeconferencing.com)
  • Web-supported textbook courses are based on a specific textbook. Students are required to read and reflect on the chapters by themselves. Review questions, topics for discussion, exercises, case studies, etc. are posted on the teacher's website, The teacher and the students meet online at a designated time in a chatroom to discuss the lessons.(I post classpages on www.quia.com).
  • Group study courses are courses where individuals meet in small groups to reach and report their findings. The students must live fair close to one another for this to be feasible.
  • Independent study courses are courses where students study independently on their own but take tests online to prove they understand the information. However, the teacher is available to answer questions.
  • Facebook courses are courses set up for students to meet the teacher on his or her Facebook page and the teacher writes some text, asks questions and the students respond. (www.facebook.com).

Benefits of taking online classes

There are a lot of benefits to the company or school that provides the education, just like there are benefits for the people who are learning from these institutions.

Benefits to the teachers
The institution is able to provide quality education to many people at one time. The teachers do not have to abide by formal classroom or class times. The teaches are able to reach people all over the world instead of those in a local community. There is no limit on the number of people who learn from these institutions too. It is profitable to have online courses. Once the course is posted online, the teacher is free to do other things.

Benefits to the students
Students who take online course can do so from their home. There is no need use gas to drive anywhere. The students who take the course can do so in their pajamas if they like. They can get up in the middle of the night and complete an assignment. Students can work at their own pace as long the course is completed by the deadline set forth by the teacher.

Online Course

Here is a short-term online Bible Study you might like.

Profile of Peter, A Disciple of Jesus

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    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Great idea whose time has come. It makes solid sense since the really outstanding and excellent teachers can now teach classes of literally millions.

      This may bring a great education within the reach of virtually anyone and at a far reduced cost.

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Will, I teach online courses and love the experience. With modern technology everything can be done from the comfort of one's own home. You were the first to respond to this article that I just posted. You get the prize... A GREAT BIG THANKS!

    • Middlespecialist profile image

      Middlespecialist 6 years ago

      Great hub - lots of good details. One more thing.. don't forget to make sure they are accredited..https://hubpages.com/education/accreditedonlinecla

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Oh, WOW! Middlespecialist, I checked your link and saw that you, too, had written an article on a similar title. We both had a poll. I have added your suggestion and link to my article in a capsule all of its own because you are absolute right. I didn't include anything in my article about being accredited.

    • Middlespecialist profile image

      Middlespecialist 6 years ago

      I am going to link this wonderful hub of your to mine also!

    • profile image

      jdove-miller 6 years ago

      I LOVE online courses. I need to sign up right now to get recertified. Thanks for the reminder!

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      jdove-miller, it's good to know you like online courses. I teach online courses and will be sending you notification when I post a new group of courses.

    • Cheryl LeKane profile image

      Cheryl LeKane 6 years ago

      Thank you revmjm! This is definitely the future! Our children are able to learn from home... I view it as convenient in somes ways. Please send me your notifications on the courses you provide online. I would love to see what you offer!

    • profile image

      Marcella Glenn 6 years ago from PA

      For one reason or another, people can't always go to a class room, and online learning is an excellent way to further education.

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      Becky 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Online classes are a great idea, but as Middlespecialist said, we must make sure they are accredited. I'll be checking some of the online courses available again soon and will check out some of your links. This is an excellent Hub, thanks for sharing.

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Becky, yes that is true. I put a link to Middlespecialist's article about credited courses. Sometimes though people want to take courses without trying to get a degree or certificate. They may even take free courses just for the learning experience.

      Thanks for reading and responding.

    • teresa8go profile image

      teresa8go 6 years ago from Michigan, USA

      I'm not a big fan of on-line classes. Granted there are wonderful benefits to on-line classes but..... I Like attending school. Having face to face contact with my teachers and classmates is great. I love all the discussions, joking around and just getting to know my classmates and teachers.

      Like in one of my classes in 2006 one of our fellow students had to cut his education short because he was being sent back to Afghanistan for his 3rd tour of duty in the Middle East. He kept attending classes until just a few days before he deployed. We all witnessed a drastic change in his behavior during this time as he was mentally gearing up to redeploy. On his last day with us we threw him a going away - good luck - come back safe and sound party. You can't experience something like that in an on-line class!

      I like being able to raise my hand to ask a question and receiving an answer immediately.

      Then again I'm not a fan of texting or telephones either. I'm just a face to face kinds gal.

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      teresa8go, thanks for sharing your thoughts about online courses. While there are some disadvantages to taking online courses, for most folks the pros outweigh the cons. As far as raising your hand is concerned, there is a "raise your hand" feature during an online class in real time where you can simple click on that feature when you want to speak.

      Online courses are not for everyone. Since you are a face-to-face kinda gal, online courses seem not to be your learning method of choice.

    • dallaswriter profile image

      dallaswriter 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Awesome hub and something to check into for further education! Thanks sweet lady:)

    • Treasuresofheaven profile image

      Sima Ballinger 6 years ago from Michigan

      Fantastic. Online is very convenient! I recently took an online course for a company I work for - it was challenging. I liked it because I could work at my own pace.

      Vote UP!!!!

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      dallaswriter: Thanks for the compliment!

      Treasuresofheaven: I like TAKING online courses because I can work at my own pace. I like TEACHING online courses because I can work at my own pace! Thanks for voting UP!

    • profile image

      Online Vocational Course 6 years ago

      Nice article. It encouraged me to take any vocational course where I can enjoy a lot. Good thing there is online education.

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Online Vocational Course, thanks for reading and responding to this article.

    • cheerfulnuts profile image

      cheerfulnuts 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I've bookmarked this hub. Thanks! :)

    • marilnelanoon233 profile image

      marilnelanoon233 6 years ago

      Excellent hub describing the different facets of online education!

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      marilnelanoon233: Thanks for reading and responding to my article about taking online classes.

    • profile image

      Bethany Culpepper 6 years ago

      I've looked into several online programs - very interesting! More and more appear all the time. Thanks for the information!

    • bugslady8949 profile image

      bugslady8949 6 years ago from The Bahamas

      you did a great job on this hub about long distance classes, I would do these classes if I had the money. they are expensive.

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Yes, some of them are expensive. However, there are some free online classes for personal development.

    • Middlespecialist profile image

      Middlespecialist 6 years ago

      bugslady--if they are in an accredited program you may be able to get financial aid. And they are usually much cheaper than face-to-face classes.

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Learning center - classes

      Free, online classes, available 24/7: www.hp.com/go/learningcenter

    • cmellon86 profile image

      cmellon86 5 years ago

      It sounds like the way of the future, is there any idea how big this is expected to grow?

    • mbaker2012 profile image

      mbaker2012 5 years ago

      This is definitely true, I think we'll see the quality of learning go up and more people will be drawn to it.

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      cmellon86 and mbaker2012, thanks for commenting on this article.

    • bdouble28 profile image

      bdouble28 5 years ago

      I think since it's more or less such a new concept, online learning will take some time to really catch on.

    • ecamper23 profile image

      ecamper23 5 years ago

      Distance learning and online education truly has come a long way since it first started.

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      bdouble28 and ecamper23, thanks for reading and commenting.

    • revmjm profile image
      Author

      Article Written By Margaret Minnicks 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      bdouble28 and ecamper23, thanks so much for reading and responding.

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